Learn Photography – 2 – Photograph should speak

Well, who doesn’t like the good picture? Thanks to the social media, we all spend countless hours of our time gazing at pictures, whether it is a pretty celebrity, a cute dog or a beautiful sunset. (Note the adjective associated) Without the adjective would we be still liking the pictures of a celebrity, dog or a sunset? I doubt that. So in order for a picture to be successful, the photographer needs to pack it with something. Something that creates a curiosity, astonishment or simply a wow.

I strongly believe that we should always ask one important question to ourselves before we click that shutter… “Why should I click this picture?” Before you click always imagine a finished photograph what you are going to create. Think about it, ask a question, is this going to be a unique photo I am going to be taking?

IMG_8477

I have seen everyone taking a picture of Taj Mahal at Agra India. Just think about how is your Taj Mahal is different than all others Taj Mahal’s people are clicking! So unless you envisioned something special which you could capture given the conditions, don’t shoot!

A good picture always speaks out its story… No.. I am not talking about photojournalism. The story the picture is trying to broadcast is nothing but your vision or an intent or a message you are trying to convey to the viewers. Examples of the story could be “Cloudy Sky”, “Cuddly baby”, “Hard Work”, “Funny Lady” or anything of that sort.

Check the below pictures and see if you can see the story, what I am trying to depict

IMG_8587
“Father’s love”, while the child is in his own world not realizing it…
DSC01413
“Holy Man” (I was standing in front of the temple without any preparation for photography, suddenly priest emerges out from inside, he stood on the entrance and his white clothes and the bald head was framed perfectly on the rectangular opening, but by the time my camera switched on and ready priest was down 3 steps still I took that shot.

 

IMG_2838
Depicts the message “False sense of security” because locks do nothing here and the background looks so scenic.
DSC02443
“Delicate flower” or “Tenderness” with dew on the petals and colours enhancing it.

So basically your picture should speak about something. If you see a flower don’t just jump at it and shoot, take a moment to think about what you are trying to showcase here? Are you shooting the whole flower? some petals in closeup? or the centre portion only? Do it based on the subject and the conditions. Remember there are no rules in photography! You have to make the decision on what should be the highlight of your picture. If there is none, it’s not worth taking that shot.

To illustrate picture with the story check the following samples.

Check both pictures, the picture on the left does not say anything other than it is a “moon” there is absolutely nothing to show off in that picture. If you are shooting with the mobile phone or with the camera without any zoom capability, you are gonna see your picture as shown on the left. I feel no point shooting this moon. On the right-hand side picture, though the story is present, you can see the texture and creators and it makes the viewer take a couple of seconds at your picture. More a viewer stays on the picture, more he liked your picture. So understand your camera capability and shoot accordingly.

Check the above two pictures, which one you would like? On which picture you wound you spend more time? Hope it’s the picture on the right. Basically, both pictures are of the same subject(miniature lights). On the right-hand side though I have purposefully created out of focus and resulted in bokeh (i.e manually did out of focus, you will be able to do that if you have a camera which can do manual focusing). So, in this case, you have to create an interesting scene given the lights and manual focus camera.

Again check the above set… the same subject is shot with different perspectives. It all depends on what you visualize at the given opportunity. To get the right-hand side picture, I had to go down on my knees so that suns rays reflected into the camera directly. Whereas the left-hand side picture is taken standing upright without any adjustment. I will not even ask which one you liked this time!

Check these pictures, you might like both, but I like the right one because there is a better story here. Sometimes you have to shoot at the right moment to get a better story. The photographer needs to create a story in his picture by waiting for the right moment.

Above pictures have not story at all, absolutely nothing to grab the attention of the viewer, however, this kind of photography is done for the documentary purpose, which we are not perusing at this point.

So, before we take a picture, we should

  • Make sure there is a photo opportunity.
  • Look for better angle or settings so that our message can be loud and clear (Composition: We will learn later)
  • Review the picture taken, check your picture after its taken to see if your vision is captured, if not take additional shots of the same thing. (I always feel you should take more than 2 shots and decide about which one to keep later, generally, we will not be able to review the pictures as we shoot on the tiny screen of mobile or camera. We have to do that work later in leisure)
  • Tweak your pictures using the software. (I strongly feel everyone should learn about basic photo editing, this will help us to broadcast our story better. There is a heavy discussion on this topic as to what is acceptable and what is not. We will cover it later chapters.
  • Now review your picture and see if it’s as per your vision if so keep them. Else delete, save your disk space.

Also note, this may also happen, you have envisioned your picture to say something, but more people are interpreting it to something else. Most probably your picture is not captured right. Always review your picture unbiased. Because what others say about your picture matters!

Hope this session made some sense to you. What is discussed today is very basics of photography but often ignored. It doesn’t matter if you have DSLR or a Mobile Camera, same principles apply. Don’t take the picture first and decide the title or story.


Exercise

  1. Post one or two pictures, keeping today’s topic in mind. (Make sure to write the intent or a story for each photo, I recommend fresh pictures if possible, but old pictures also fine!)
  2. Let me know type of camera(mobile, DSLR, point and shoot)
  3. Add a tag ‘XDrivePhoto’
  4. Add a pingback to this post. (Basically, copy the URL of this post, and paste to your post. (Anywhere)
  5. Title the post as “XDrive Photo Lesson 2”

Your ping-backs may not appear immediately as I have to enable them later. I will check your post and I will comment on your post itself. I will post selected interesting images from you here so that others can also see and learn from them.

Remember at this point we are working on our storytelling abilities only, not on any other aspect of the photography. We will learn as we go. We will go slowly but steadily. Requesting all to participate even if you think you understood the concept. Participation encourages me to do more.

Although these lessons are geared towards newbies, expert photographers also welcomed heartily. I need to learn too! There are no teachers here everyone is learning.

Cheers and Happy clicking!


 

Contributions: (Please check the posts below and my comments on them in those posts)

https://whakaahuablog.wordpress.com/2017/07/13/perspective/

https://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2017/07/13/xdrive-photo-lesson-2/

XDrive Photo Lesson 2

https://mazeepuran.wordpress.com/2017/08/28/photograph-should-speak-xdrive-photo-lesson-2/#comment-5874

http://muminarush.com/does-your-photographs-tell-a-story-xdrive-lesson-2/

https://digitaldiary101.wordpress.com/2017/11/07/xdrive-photo-lesson-2/comment-page-1/#comment-52

https://geriatrixfotogallerie.wordpress.com/2017/11/22/xdrive-photo-lesson-2/comment-page-1/#comment-11429

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50 Comments Add yours

  1. Rekha says:

    Homework yavaga submit maadbeku sir? ๐Ÿ˜‰
    This was a very informative post, Raj ๐Ÿ™‚ I will keep this in mind the next time I click photos – perspective. Thank you ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thanks Rekha… home work lets see .. how many people participate… then I will decide……actually it can continue forever too… people can join later too no.. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

      1. Rekha says:

        ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚ I will also try to search for some photo or click new ones over the weekend and post ๐Ÿ™‚ nijvaglu, tumba olle initiative idu. Frankly, I am also learning a lot from your posts. I still have to learn a lot about manual settings in DSLR.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Raj says:

        Thanks Rekha.. If it helps just handful I am happy too.. Dont worry about the DSLR settings we will cover it.. but I need to know how many of my followers have dslrs… Mobile phones basically dumb devices with out any settings… DSLR section will be more interesting ๐Ÿ™‚

        Like

      3. Rekha says:

        May be, you can include that in your next post. Which one do your followers prefer? DSLR or mobile photography. Based on results, you can move ahead ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Raj says:

        Yes … lets see.. I have asked people to post their camera type in this post already .. lets see whats the feedback..

        Like

  2. Amy says:

    Great lesson and tips, Raj! Gonna think hard for this challenge! I bet we can learn much from your and other followers.
    I might missed it, is this a weekly “lesson”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      I have plans for updating it on weekly basis, but I think let people contribute even after a week…it doesn’t matter… because there may be fresh joiners at later part..we have to accommodate them too.. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed reading with beautiful pictures you clicked

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Raj says:

      Thanks Tanvir… for the support … as always! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yoly says:

    Very true Raj. Every picture has its own story to tell. โ˜บ๏ธ

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you Yoly for agreeing with me.. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great info on your blog.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you! ๐Ÿ‘

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Rekha says:

    Hello Raj. Shall I create a pingback with my entry?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Yes Rekha… perfect entry.. I have put up my comments on you post!

      Like

    1. Raj says:

      Great contribution Rekha … I have updated my comments in your post .. anyone following my photo learning session, please do check Rekha’s contribution…Thank you

      Like

  7. Parul Thakur says:

    Fabulous tips. Stopping by from Rekha’s blog and glad I did.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you Parul for stopping by, keep visiting.. Have a great day! ๐Ÿ‘

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thanks Amy for the contribution.. two interesting pictures.. I will comment on them on your post today… Good morning!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Amy says:

        See you later, Raj. It’s night here. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Raj says:

        Hope there will be comment when you wake up.. good night! ๐Ÿ™‚

        Like

  8. shalini says:

    Wow raj, congrats.. Raj, everyone here has a vision for the final photograph, I don’t seem to have the inner voice which says how my final pic should be, what do I do? How will I finish the exercise? ๐Ÿ˜จ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Please understand, when I say story… its not the whole book you have been reviewing.. ๐Ÿ˜€ Take camera out, look at things around you. If it is a tree.. ask a question.. will it be a nice tree in a picture? if so shoot…. check the result…if its acceptable… post it… You don’t have to climb Mt Everest to get great view! You can shoot food, work table, or books.. what ever you think as something speak.. . ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

      1. shalini says:

        Shouldn’t the pic speak to me. I will try Raj.. But when I click fotos it’s all blurred or not good. I delete all pics I click.
        But I will try again…

        Like

      2. shalini says:

        Nothing ever speaks to me… But will still try and post a pic with description over the weekend. Any phone app which beautifies the pic more??

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Raj says:

        Use Snapseed, its from google and has everything you need.

        Like

      4. shalini says:

        Ok I will do it. Gawd Raj, by the end of your lessons, I will know what I can do.
        In life I have taught myself everything, nothing came inbuilt in me. Maybe this too, I will learn.. Maybe..

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow ! So much to learn. Thankyou for posting it. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you Pooja.. for the appreciation.. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

    1. Raj says:

      Thanks for the contribution… btw superb contribution.. I hope all my followers read your post!

      Like

  10. muminarushlondon says:

    I love this post! Just bought my first mirrorless camera and your lessons are very helpful! (currently revisiting them) ๐Ÿ™‚ thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Wow that’s great! Congratulations .. now we should be able to see your submissions here .. Let me know if you need any help.. btw you have a nice blog… Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. muminarushlondon says:

        Thanks Raj! I’m keeping an eye, would love to contribute & get your opinion
        Julie

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Raj says:

        Sure Julie I look forward to your presence here! ๐Ÿ˜Š๐ŸŒท

        Liked by 1 person

  11. muminarushlondon says:

    Hi Raj!! so finally- I’m braving it and posting for the lessons! I’m starting with lesson number two. I think I have done correctly? I’m using Sony a500 which I recently bought so that I can start learning to take pics ๐Ÿ™‚
    Really looking forward to your feedback. Will work on other lessons too and post in the coming weeks
    http://muminarush.com/does-your-photographs-tell-a-story-xdrive-lesson-2/
    Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚
    Julie

    Like

  12. Dahlia says:

    Awesome post Raj. I do tend to click photos and decide later about the story. And I have also noticed that I like a scene or mostly trees and notice the finer nuances later. It’s sort of done subconsciously but I will try to be more mindful. Yet so often as tourists or something fleeting there is hardly any time to think…but I will try! Thanks so much for the thought provoking post and helpful tips.

    Like

  13. shutterbug says:

    Hi Raj! I backtracked all the way to the first lesson. You can see my post here https://digitaldiary101.wordpress.com/2017/11/07/xdrive-photo-lesson-2/. I really like your comment on Amy’s post “Improvement has no limits”.So true!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      That’s really great! Thank you for your appreciation and participation. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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